Sentencing has been pushed back for a Union City man who admitted that he smoked marijuana and drank as he tossed lit matches onto a man inside the home where a deadly fire erupted in March.
JERSEY CITY – The sentencing of a man who admitted that he smoked marijuana and drank as he a lit piece of paper on a man inside the home where a deadly fire erupted in March has been delayed.
The March 4 fire claimed the life 1-year-old Eddie Gonzalez Jr., left 20 surrounding apartments damaged or destroyed, and heavily damaged 119-year-old Saints Joseph and Michael Church a block away.
In August, Edwin Diaz, 21, admitted that on the day of the fire he was in the apartment at 1404 Summit Ave. in Union City with the victim’s father, Eddie Gonzalez Sr., 27, who was lighting matches and tossing them on a relative as the relative slept on a couch.
Diaz said he also lit a match and ignited a piece of paper on the man, who would wake and flick off the burning items. In the next room, Eddie Gonzalez Jr., 1, slept with his mother.
Diaza admitted the fire broke out when he and the baby’s father went into the bathroom to smoke more marijuana.
Diaz pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter and a three-year prison term is recommended under the plea deal. He faced up to 10 years if convicted at trial. As part of the deal, Diaz must testify against Gonzalez, who was indicted on manslaughter and other charges.
The boy’s mother, and his 5-month-old sister fled on a fire escape unharmed. The father suffered burns and was hospitalized in critical condition, but he was released in time for his son’s wake.
Diaz also admitted that while Gonzalez was hospitalized they hatched a plan to lie about what happened. He said he stuck to the story when interviewed by police but told the truth during a second interview.
Both defendants turned themselves when they were charged by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, about a month after the fire.
Diaz was to be sentenced on Friday. He is now slated to be sentenced on Nov. 17 by Hudson County Superior Court Judge John Young, who is not in this week.
Source:: New Jersey Real-Time News